04/18/2011 MM: "Common Knowledge"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
um...Shouldn't the common graphic be ten per pack instead of fifteen per pack?
um...Shouldn't the common graphic be ten per pack instead of fifteen per pack?



Indeed. "The lawyers" must be frothing at the mouth over that one.
I think that graphic was for the part about limited.  They draft with all commons first.
Technical and a bit boring, bit a good article nontheless.
I read the bold section headings and didn't see any topic I needed to know more about -- anyone find any hidden gems in the text?
Mark, Thanks for the article. I love it! (I went back to Common Courtesy and from there to a couple more.)
I would have love it more if you would have been more specific about what's not common. For example, I've notice that Double strike, Flash, Protection, Shroud, Landwalk, Regeneration, Exile, etc., aren't in common. A more complete list would have been great.
Also, please, write an article about how to do good playtests!




































Double strike
Flash
Protection



Shroud

Landwalk


Mark, Thanks for the article. I love it! (I went back to Common Courtesy and from there to a couple more.)
I would have love it more if you would have been more specific about what's not common. For example, I've notice that Double strike, Flash, Protection, Shroud, Landwalk, Regeneration, Exile, etc., aren't in common. A more complete list would have been great.
Also, please, write an article about how to do good playtests!




































Double strike
Flash
Protection



Shroud

Landwalk





But most of those abilities have been in common in modern magic! Spellstutter Sprite, Crimson Acolyte, Shilana Ledgewalker, Harbor Serpent, Blight Mamba, Oblivion Ring.

Card advantage also shows up at common, and it is extremely important in pauper magic: Phyrexian Rager and Mulldrifter are format staples precisely because their card advantage capabilities.

What we rarely see at common, as Maro says, are sweepers. The closest thing we've seen in recent years was dealing one damage to all creatures, which in pauper is often a big deal. This lack of sweepers is for limited's sake: Imagine we bring a few cards from the past, and select ancient commons crypt rats and pestilence in Innstrad. Change nothing else, and you've completely warped the format, as every time you face someone playing swamps you have to be extremely afraid of overextending, as chances are they have at least one of those, if not more, in their limited pool.

Now, what I wish is for Wizards to pay more attention to pauper, both in its standard and classic incarnations. It'd not be all that difficult for them to give us better constructed quality answers to some of pauper's problem cards.
There's a lot going on here, thank you Mark.

I absolutely love my friend's Cube...but I knew the first time I played with it that I would make my own...and it would have more commons than anything else.  I'm not working on version 1.1 of my own Cube that is built like a set and the packs are made like actual packs, Rare, Uncommons, Commons.

It's hilarious hearing certain comments on those commons.  Some standouts from recent playtests:

"Why is Flameborn Hellion in here, it's so bad!"
"Flameborn Hellion is BOSS!"

"Ice Cage is TERRIBLE."
"I am losing to Ice Cage!"

"Mind Control is too weak, use Control Magic!"
"Rise from the Grave is too strong!"

I think I'm doing something right.  ;)
While I agree with the ideas, it didn't seem like there was much new. And it felt really hollow after last Friday's LD article which basically admitted in order to play with the big boys you need to be packing at least four of a certain mythic rare, otherwise go home and play baby-Magic at your baby-kitchen table with your baby-friends. 


 
Proud member of C.A.R.D. - Campaign Against Rare Duals "...but the time has come when lands just need to be better. Creatures have gotten stronger, spells have always been insane, and lands just sat in this awkward place of necessity." Jacob Van Lunen on the refuge duals, 16 Sep 2009. "While it made thematic sense to separate enemy and allied color fixing in the past, we have come around to the definite conclusion that it is just plain incorrect from a game-play perspective. This is one of these situations where game play should just trump flavor." - Sam Stoddard on ending the separation of allied/enemy dual lands. 05 July 2013
Reading this makes me want to start designing commons. This is why Wizards should start the "Mark Rosewater Fantasy Design Camp." They'd have computers where you would just type in the details of a card (perhaps access a data base of artwork, too), print your card up (perhaps on a sticker that you put on some land card or something) and then you get to playtest them against the other people at the camp. Maybe the particpants are broken into small groups, each of which design part of the block Alara-style. I don't know. Maybe different groups design different releases. Design people would make guest appearances, give talks, take questions, mentor the participants on their design. I'd go! I'd pay to go! (Now, whether my wife would let me go, or pay to go...)
I find trying to put 'variety' in my writing a cumbersom task.
When I was reading the article about commons today I almost winced twice when the word 'common' was written into a sentence, without drawing reference to the rarity. In other it was all to common, without trying to be punny.

Harsh? Yeah I need to get over it. After all to have to come up with all the other pro-nouns it'd be too ordinary an exercise.

Decient article. Perhaps it helps explain why cards like Blight Mamba stand out so much. Having two key abilities almost moves it out of common, which is probably why it gets so much attention.

While I agree with the ideas, it didn't seem like there was much new. And it felt really hollow after last Friday's LD article which basically admitted in order to play with the big boys you need to be packing at least four of a certain mythic rare, otherwise go home and play baby-Magic at your baby-kitchen table with your baby-friends. 


 



Are you sure you read Tom's article? I think you may have missed some key parts. Such as the paragraphs.
I've taken a day to think about how to say this diplomatically.  I believe that MaRo's attitude towards commons, while understandable given what he's trying to accomplish, has had a drastically detrimental side effect.  It's possible that this is a lesser-of-two-evils choice he's made, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume so.  But here is how I see it.

As long as Commons are designed for the benefit of newbie players who, let's say, aren't assumed to be highly intelligent...commons will NOT be fun for the majority of long-term Magic players.

There's some sense in this; at the end of the day Wizards needs to move pack volume in order to turn a profit.  They spend an unfathomable amount of money making Magic great - they buy art, they pay flavor text writers, they hire playtesters, and they cater to collectors by not printing surefire-sellers that are on the Reserve List.  They need to take in money, and that means they need to sell immense amounts of product.  Which unfortunately seems to mean they've accepted as inevitable the need to make a vast number of cards, almost all of which will be ignored by "serious" players, so that those will drive sales by paying $50+ for playsets of must-have rares and mythics.  They also commit heavily to Limited, a format which turns huge profits for them and is played only by people who have money to burn, and those people apparently think the game is more fun when "bomb" rares make games turn out differently by negating the basic effect of the strictly weaker commons.  Finally, there's all the stuff Mark says about how commons need to not have hard-to-comprehend rules technology or hard-to-intuitively-grasp gameplay concepts, because they need to remain simple and accessible for the benefit of new players.

The upshot of all this is that almost all of the power, and a great deal of the "fun" for lack of a better word, is concentrated at higher rarities.  Commons just plain can't have very many tricks up their sleeve, so if you don't enjoy simple gameplay archetypes like Red Burn and White Weenie, commons just aren't going to cut the mustard for you.  And so, the vast majority of commons are worthless to the vast majority of players within 8 hours of them being opened - Limited players value them as long as the draft lasts, and except for a few newbies or kitchen-table types, other players don't value the vast majority of commons at all.  And why should they, when the vast majority of commons are the same old same old, perhaps reflavored with this year's block theme but ultimately no more interesting in play than they were ten years ago?

As I say, I don't know if there's any solution to all this.  I'm just saying I wish there was.  I'd like it if all-Pauper games could be a microcosm of "real" Magic, and that doesn't seem to be possible as long as Common is serving the other masters it does.  There won't be a common Wrath of God, there won't be common Johnny cards that enable weird new deck archetypes (not often at least), and there certainly won't be a common that defines any format half as much as Jace the Mind Sculptor currently does, at least not in any normal expansion.  If you want power or creativity, instead of the bread-and-butter designed for noobs and Limited players, you're just always going to have to pay more per card, probably buying singles or trading aggressively, because most of the cards in the booster pack just aren't intended to make you happy, and that seems unlikely to change for a while.

I wonder if Wizards has investigated the viability of creating something akin to Duel Decks where you buy large numbers of "rare" cards for a small price in exchange for them having no Limited application and probably not tournament legality.  Things at least vaguely similar to this have been done in the past and were commercial flops, which saddens me; I wonder how long it's been since they tested the waters.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
I wonder if Wizards has investigated the viability of creating something akin to Duel Decks where you buy large numbers of "rare" cards for a small price in exchange for them having no Limited application and probably not tournament legality.  Things at least vaguely similar to this have been done in the past and were commercial flops, which saddens me; I wonder how long it's been since they tested the waters.

They used to release top 4 World Championship decks with gold borders; it was indeed pretty much a commercial flop. People just aren't interested in cards that aren't "real". IIRC, the last one released used the decks from the 2005 World Championships.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Reading this makes me want to start designing commons. This is why Wizards should start the "Mark Rosewater Fantasy Design Camp." They'd have computers where you would just type in the details of a card (perhaps access a data base of artwork, too), print your card up (perhaps on a sticker that you put on some land card or something) and then you get to playtest them against the other people at the camp. Maybe the particpants are broken into small groups, each of which design part of the block Alara-style. I don't know. Maybe different groups design different releases. Design people would make guest appearances, give talks, take questions, mentor the participants on their design. I'd go! I'd pay to go! (Now, whether my wife would let me go, or pay to go...)

How do you know they don't already have these in the mountains of Japan? Do you really think it's the same nerds who run the company that design the cards? You FOOL! No, it sounds like a cool idea.

I've taken a day to think about how to say this diplomatically.  I believe that MaRo's attitude towards commons, while understandable given what he's trying to accomplish, has had a drastically detrimental side effect.  It's possible that this is a lesser-of-two-evils choice he's made, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume so.  But here is how I see it.

As long as Commons are designed for the benefit of newbie players who, let's say, aren't assumed to be highly intelligent...commons will NOT be fun for the majority of long-term Magic players.

There's some sense in this; at the end of the day Wizards needs to move pack volume in order to turn a profit.  They spend an unfathomable amount of money making Magic great - they buy art, they pay flavor text writers, they hire playtesters, and they cater to collectors by not printing surefire-sellers that are on the Reserve List.  They need to take in money, and that means they need to sell immense amounts of product.  Which unfortunately seems to mean they've accepted as inevitable the need to make a vast number of cards, almost all of which will be ignored by "serious" players, so that those will drive sales by paying $50+ for playsets of must-have rares and mythics.  They also commit heavily to Limited, a format which turns huge profits for them and is played only by people who have money to burn, and those people apparently think the game is more fun when "bomb" rares make games turn out differently by negating the basic effect of the strictly weaker commons.  Finally, there's all the stuff Mark says about how commons need to not have hard-to-comprehend rules technology or hard-to-intuitively-grasp gameplay concepts, because they need to remain simple and accessible for the benefit of new players.

The upshot of all this is that almost all of the power, and a great deal of the "fun" for lack of a better word, is concentrated at higher rarities.  Commons just plain can't have very many tricks up their sleeve, so if you don't enjoy simple gameplay archetypes like Red Burn and White Weenie, commons just aren't going to cut the mustard for you.  And so, the vast majority of commons are worthless to the vast majority of players within 8 hours of them being opened - Limited players value them as long as the draft lasts, and except for a few newbies or kitchen-table types, other players don't value the vast majority of commons at all.  And why should they, when the vast majority of commons are the same old same old, perhaps reflavored with this year's block theme but ultimately no more interesting in play than they were ten years ago?

As I say, I don't know if there's any solution to all this.  I'm just saying I wish there was.  I'd like it if all-Pauper games could be a microcosm of "real" Magic, and that doesn't seem to be possible as long as Common is serving the other masters it does.  There won't be a common Wrath of God, there won't be common Johnny cards that enable weird new deck archetypes (not often at least), and there certainly won't be a common that defines any format half as much as Jace the Mind Sculptor currently does, at least not in any normal expansion.  If you want power or creativity, instead of the bread-and-butter designed for noobs and Limited players, you're just always going to have to pay more per card, probably buying singles or trading aggressively, because most of the cards in the booster pack just aren't intended to make you happy, and that seems unlikely to change for a while.

I wonder if Wizards has investigated the viability of creating something akin to Duel Decks where you buy large numbers of "rare" cards for a small price in exchange for them having no Limited application and probably not tournament legality.  Things at least vaguely similar to this have been done in the past and were commercial flops, which saddens me; I wonder how long it's been since they tested the waters.

Does nobody draft anymore? Limited environment anyone? Commons are NECESSARY for that. You can't say rares are rare if all the cards are "rare". That doesn't work. How valuable something is has to do with how available it is in relation to how desired it is. If all the cards were the same power level, you twits, then they. Would. All. Be. COMMON.
I've taken a day to think about how to say this diplomatically.  I believe that MaRo's attitude towards commons, while understandable given what he's trying to accomplish, has had a drastically detrimental side effect.  It's possible that this is a lesser-of-two-evils choice he's made, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume so.  But here is how I see it.

As long as Commons are designed for the benefit of newbie players who, let's say, aren't assumed to be highly intelligent...commons will NOT be fun for the majority of long-term Magic players.

There's some sense in this; at the end of the day Wizards needs to move pack volume in order to turn a profit.  They spend an unfathomable amount of money making Magic great - they buy art, they pay flavor text writers, they hire playtesters, and they cater to collectors by not printing surefire-sellers that are on the Reserve List.  They need to take in money, and that means they need to sell immense amounts of product.  Which unfortunately seems to mean they've accepted as inevitable the need to make a vast number of cards, almost all of which will be ignored by "serious" players, so that those will drive sales by paying $50+ for playsets of must-have rares and mythics.  They also commit heavily to Limited, a format which turns huge profits for them and is played only by people who have money to burn, and those people apparently think the game is more fun when "bomb" rares make games turn out differently by negating the basic effect of the strictly weaker commons.  Finally, there's all the stuff Mark says about how commons need to not have hard-to-comprehend rules technology or hard-to-intuitively-grasp gameplay concepts, because they need to remain simple and accessible for the benefit of new players.

The upshot of all this is that almost all of the power, and a great deal of the "fun" for lack of a better word, is concentrated at higher rarities.  Commons just plain can't have very many tricks up their sleeve, so if you don't enjoy simple gameplay archetypes like Red Burn and White Weenie, commons just aren't going to cut the mustard for you.  And so, the vast majority of commons are worthless to the vast majority of players within 8 hours of them being opened - Limited players value them as long as the draft lasts, and except for a few newbies or kitchen-table types, other players don't value the vast majority of commons at all.  And why should they, when the vast majority of commons are the same old same old, perhaps reflavored with this year's block theme but ultimately no more interesting in play than they were ten years ago?

As I say, I don't know if there's any solution to all this.  I'm just saying I wish there was.  I'd like it if all-Pauper games could be a microcosm of "real" Magic, and that doesn't seem to be possible as long as Common is serving the other masters it does.  There won't be a common Wrath of God, there won't be common Johnny cards that enable weird new deck archetypes (not often at least), and there certainly won't be a common that defines any format half as much as Jace the Mind Sculptor currently does, at least not in any normal expansion.  If you want power or creativity, instead of the bread-and-butter designed for noobs and Limited players, you're just always going to have to pay more per card, probably buying singles or trading aggressively, because most of the cards in the booster pack just aren't intended to make you happy, and that seems unlikely to change for a while.

I wonder if Wizards has investigated the viability of creating something akin to Duel Decks where you buy large numbers of "rare" cards for a small price in exchange for them having no Limited application and probably not tournament legality.  Things at least vaguely similar to this have been done in the past and were commercial flops, which saddens me; I wonder how long it's been since they tested the waters.

Does nobody draft anymore? Limited environment anyone? Commons are NECESSARY for that. You can't say rares are rare if all the cards are "rare". That doesn't work. How valuable something is has to do with how available it is in relation to how desired it is. If all the cards were the same power level, you twits, then they. Would. All. Be. COMMON.

I do apologize for the lack of diplomacy there.

Eh, you're a Red Mage, it's to be expected.  :D

The World Champion decks also had different backs - drastically different in a way that's very hard to ignore.  That was a really poor idea because it didn't defeat sleeving, which a canny player might have used to sneak the cards into a tournament if the opponent managed to miss the gold borders, but didn't help casual players that don't often use sleeves.

And of course it skipped out on the whole deckbuilding part, which is a big draw for many members of the casual crowd.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
As long as Commons are designed for the benefit of newbie players who, let's say, aren't assumed to be highly intelligent...commons will NOT be fun for the majority of long-term Magic players.



Don't forget Limited. Designed for newbie players and limited. What do you think of the Lorwyn/Morningtide commons? Because those seemed to have crossed the line in Limited complexity.


Also, in the end, think about this: if every common was unique and interesting, Magic might've run out of ideas 5 years ago.

As I say, I don't know if there's any solution to all this.  I'm just saying I wish there was.  I'd like it if all-Pauper games could be a microcosm of "real" Magic, and that doesn't seem to be possible as long as Common is serving the other masters it does.  There won't be a common Wrath of God, there won't be common Johnny cards that enable weird new deck archetypes (not often at least), and there certainly won't be a common that defines any format half as much as Jace the Mind Sculptor currently does, at least not in any normal expansion.  If you want power or creativity, instead of the bread-and-butter designed for noobs and Limited players, you're just always going to have to pay more per card, probably buying singles or trading aggressively, because most of the cards in the booster pack just aren't intended to make you happy, and that seems unlikely to change for a while.



Play Peasant, it's awesome with a lot of Johnny potential =)
As long as Commons are designed for the benefit of newbie players who, let's say, aren't assumed to be highly intelligent...commons will NOT be fun for the majority of long-term Magic players.

Don't forget Limited. Designed for newbie players and limited. What do you think of the Lorwyn/Morningtide commons? Because those seemed to have crossed the line in Limited complexity.

As a big fan of 2HG, I'll say that 2HG at the Lorwyn prerelease was the most mentally taxing Limited format I think I've played.  In addition to having to learn to deal with new cards and abilities (true at every prerelease), assessing a game state in which four players each had many cards on the board (in a creature-oriented set) that all cared about different things was incredibly challenging.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
My Decks
These are the decks I have assembled at the moment:
Tournament Decks (4)
Kicker Aggro (Invasion Block) Sunforger/Izzet Guildmage Midrange (Ravnica/Time Spiral/Xth Standard) Dragonstorm Combo (Time Spiral/Lorwyn/Xth Standard) Bant Midrange (Lorwyn/Shards/M10 Standard)
Casual Multiplayer Decks (50)
Angel Resurrection Casual Soul Sisters Sindbad's Adventures with Djinn of Wishes Sphinx-Bone Wand Buyback Morph (No Instants or Sorceries) Cabal Coffers Control Zombie Aggro Hungry, Hungry Greater Gargadon/War Elemental Flashfires/Boil/Ruination - Boom! Call of the Wild Teysa, Orzhov Scion with Twilight Drover, Sun Titan, and Hivestone Slivers Rebels Cairn Wanderer Knights Only Gold and () Spells Captain Sisay Toolbox Spellweaver Helix Combo Merfolk Wizards Izzet Guildmage/The Unspeakable Arcane Combo Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and his Wizards Creatureless Wild Research/Reins of Power Madness Creatureless Pyromancer Ascension Anarchist Living Death Anvil of Bogardan Madness Shamen with Goblin Game/Wound Reflection Combo Mass damage Quest for Pure Flame Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle/Clear the Land with 40+ Lands Doubling Season Thallids Juniper Order Ranger Graft/Tokens Elf Archer Druids Equilibrium/Aluren Combo Experiment Kraj Combo Reap Combo False Cure/Kavu Predator Combo Savra, Queen of the Golgari Sacrifice/Dredge Elf Warriors Eight-Post Sneak Attack Where Ancients Tread Zur the Enchanter with Opal creatures Tamanoa/Kavu Predator/Collapsing Borders Esper Aggro Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and his Darksteel Reactor Theft and Control Unearth Aggro Soul's Fire Vampires Devour Tokens Phytohydra with Powerstone Minefield Treefolk Friendly? Questing Phelddagrif Slivers Dragon Arch Fun I'm probably forgetting a few...
Don't forget Limited. Designed for newbie players and limited.



Yes yes, as I said Wizards likes to pander to people who will pay $15 to play for one evening instead of trying to get lifetime value out of that  money.  I don't really blame them, but it's still sad in my opinion, according to the money-is-entirely-secondary-to-True-Art worldview which I gleefully espouse.

What do you think of the Lorwyn/Morningtide commons? Because those seemed to have crossed the line in Limited complexity.



Well I didn't play Limited but in general they were rather excellent cards.  All the Evoke elementals for instance were essentially modal spells, and those always play rather well by offering different utility at different stages of the game.  The collect-mes I can imagine were probably a bit miserable to play in Sealed, but that was fairly inevitable with any sort of a tribal theme, and frankly I can live with screwing Sealed once in a while, as it's just "play a pile of random cards" and so my reaction is "why bother" trying to make it work..  Draft I at least have some sympathy for as an alternate play format.

Also, in the end, think about this: if every common was unique and interesting, Magic might've run out of ideas 5 years ago.



In a word, baloney.  I could design 5 years worth of unique an interesting magic sets, commons included, singlehandedly.  Obviously they wouldn't be quite up to the same standards as a real set made by more than one person, but I've designed two sets already and done some work on about two dozen more.  They might well be a developer's nightmare, but as designs they are certainly innovative and cool.  Magic will never run out of ideas, not in ten thousand years.  They might eventually run out of certain kinds of ideas (many of which are the kinds modern design weighs heavily - simple, classic, basically functional kinds of things), but other kinds (those sorts of designs more characteristic of the first six or so expansions, along with various breeds of wackiness since then) are a bottomless well and will always remain so.

Cards as simple as Go for the Throat, yes, those might eventually be nothing but repeats.  But things like top-down creature concepts and crazy Johnny build-around enchantments devoted to a set theme...those are impossible to completely exhaust.  At worst, they reach a somewhat extreme degree of "complexity creep" and the hobby becomes niche because you now need to be smarter than the average bear to figure it out.  As long as I'm not fiscally liable for the results, I'm all for that. 

My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
Yes yes, as I said Wizards likes to pander to people who will pay $15 to play for one evening instead of trying to get lifetime value out of that  money.  I don't really blame them, but it's still sad in my opinion, according to the money-is-entirely-secondary-to-True-Art worldview which I gleefully espouse.



But magic is applied art =p

Cards as simple as Go for the Throat, yes, those might eventually be nothing but repeats.  But things like top-down creature concepts and crazy Johnny build-around enchantments devoted to a set theme...those are impossible to completely exhaust.  At worst, they reach a somewhat extreme degree of "complexity creep" and the hobby becomes niche because you now need to be smarter than the average bear to figure it out.  As long as I'm not fiscally liable for the results, I'm all for that. 



Ah yes in that case, as you say, it is a necessary evil to keep the game from not existing
I've taken a day to think about how to say this diplomatically.  I believe that MaRo's attitude towards commons, while understandable given what he's trying to accomplish, has had a drastically detrimental side effect.  It's possible that this is a lesser-of-two-evils choice he's made, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume so.  But here is how I see it.

As long as Commons are designed for the benefit of newbie players who, let's say, aren't assumed to be highly intelligent...commons will NOT be fun for the majority of long-term Magic players.

There's some sense in this; at the end of the day Wizards needs to move pack volume in order to turn a profit.  They spend an unfathomable amount of money making Magic great - they buy art, they pay flavor text writers, they hire playtesters, and they cater to collectors by not printing surefire-sellers that are on the Reserve List.  They need to take in money, and that means they need to sell immense amounts of product.  Which unfortunately seems to mean they've accepted as inevitable the need to make a vast number of cards, almost all of which will be ignored by "serious" players, so that those will drive sales by paying $50+ for playsets of must-have rares and mythics.  They also commit heavily to Limited, a format which turns huge profits for them and is played only by people who have money to burn, and those people apparently think the game is more fun when "bomb" rares make games turn out differently by negating the basic effect of the strictly weaker commons.  Finally, there's all the stuff Mark says about how commons need to not have hard-to-comprehend rules technology or hard-to-intuitively-grasp gameplay concepts, because they need to remain simple and accessible for the benefit of new players.

The upshot of all this is that almost all of the power, and a great deal of the "fun" for lack of a better word, is concentrated at higher rarities.  Commons just plain can't have very many tricks up their sleeve, so if you don't enjoy simple gameplay archetypes like Red Burn and White Weenie, commons just aren't going to cut the mustard for you.  And so, the vast majority of commons are worthless to the vast majority of players within 8 hours of them being opened - Limited players value them as long as the draft lasts, and except for a few newbies or kitchen-table types, other players don't value the vast majority of commons at all.  And why should they, when the vast majority of commons are the same old same old, perhaps reflavored with this year's block theme but ultimately no more interesting in play than they were ten years ago?

As I say, I don't know if there's any solution to all this.  I'm just saying I wish there was.  I'd like it if all-Pauper games could be a microcosm of "real" Magic, and that doesn't seem to be possible as long as Common is serving the other masters it does.  There won't be a common Wrath of God, there won't be common Johnny cards that enable weird new deck archetypes (not often at least), and there certainly won't be a common that defines any format half as much as Jace the Mind Sculptor currently does, at least not in any normal expansion.  If you want power or creativity, instead of the bread-and-butter designed for noobs and Limited players, you're just always going to have to pay more per card, probably buying singles or trading aggressively, because most of the cards in the booster pack just aren't intended to make you happy, and that seems unlikely to change for a while.

I wonder if Wizards has investigated the viability of creating something akin to Duel Decks where you buy large numbers of "rare" cards for a small price in exchange for them having no Limited application and probably not tournament legality.  Things at least vaguely similar to this have been done in the past and were commercial flops, which saddens me; I wonder how long it's been since they tested the waters.


*sigh*

Willpell, you are so narrow-minded it hurts others on the regular.

I've been putting the first draft of my personal cube through the paces at my local gaming club.

In each color there are around 17 commons, four copies of each...this means commons vastly outnumber the rares and uncommons.  This is because I make "real" packs in my cube for drafting.

Just as in limited, commons are what makes this work, it's what makes Magic work.

People ask others what their favorite cards are and the answer is often Jace or Doubling Season or Time Spiral, Warp World.  Yeah, those are cool.

My answer?

Kor Hookmaster.  Phyrexian Rager.  Pestermite.  Goblin Shortcutter. Viridian Emissary.

Limited play is the best way to play Magic IMO...and when it comes to Constructed...I get my cards by drafting and winning.  I win because I recognize that decks are made with Commons and appropriately value them.

I may have a binder of rares...but I've got decks of commons.

People love my Blink deck...yeah, it would be less powerful minus Ghostway...but it simply wouldn't happen without Lone Missionary, Mulldrifter or Momentary Blink.
For those of you forced to draft at $15 a go, I sympathize. Card stores attract more flies with honey than vinegar, and if the place isn't making the best form of competitive Magic more accessible to everyone by lowering the price, then maybe it doesn't deserve your business. My store does it for $10, and if you do only one draft a week that doesn't seem excessively expensive or rich. You would pay $10 to see a movie and get less entertainment value out of it. Plus you don't get to keep the movie, whereas with the cards you do

I don't know about these people who don't like commons. My favorite card in Scars of Mirrodin block is Tumble Magnet and it even sees some play in Standard. Back during Onslaught block my friends and I collected enough Sparksmiths to use them in clear plastics as backing for a deck (but we couldn't use Sparksmith in it unfortunately) Commons rock.

Here are some plain old commons from the past. Dark Ritual. Lotus Petal. Hymn to Tourach. Yeah, those don't seem very good
I didn't feel that the article provided any new insights as MaRo has often commented on the role of commons in design. If you will, this article summed up his previous musings. Which is mostly nice for him, but unless you have had your head in the sand and never drafted or thought about how a set is put together, obvious article is obvious.

I don't wish to hi-jack this thread as a mythic rant, and I am not going to bang on about my favourite pet peeve, but I think it would be *nice* if you wrote an article about the other end of the scale. As I say, we know all this about commons, and I don't see too many questions in the forums other than the odd eye-roll-to-heaven when spoilers come out and the limited fodder is spoiled. However, since the day mythics were announced there has been three YEARS of quite passionate debate about mythics literally changing the game experience for many, and (to the best of my knowledge) not a single response from you or any one else.

Let me repeat that.

Three YEARS of complaints. Hundreds of threads. Thousands of posts. People changing their buying habits and investment in the game, in some cases dramatically (including the first in-print card to bust $100). Not a single piece of article, notice or feedback of any kind. Not. a. single. one.

So, *nice* common article Mark but please now roll up your sleeves and do the real article.

PS. One of my favourite cards in modern magic is common. Oblivion Ring.